New Details in Deaths of OC Mom and Sons Means Wider Probe for Missing Bodies
New details brought to light in the case of the death of an Orange County mother and her infant sons have changed the scope of the search for the missing bodies of the two youngest victims.The prime suspect in the family's deaths is the father of the children, 31-year-old Shazer Fernando Limas, who has been charged with their murders.
While the body of 31-year-old Arlet Hernandez Contreras was found April 25 in La Puente and identified late Friday, the bodies of her two children, sons whose ages have now been confirmed to be even younger than initially reported, remain missing, according to City News Service. Initially thought to have been two years old and four months old, the boys' ages have been determined to be one year old and three months old.
Additionally, an autopsy on the body of Contreras has established she was killed about two weeks prior to the discovery of her corpse, say police. Contreras had been stabbed to death.
Limas is thought to have killed Contreras on April 14. The following day, he sought treatment at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for a cut to his hand that required surgery. Ten days later, he purchased a tarp from Home Depot, and moved out of the apartment. That tarp was found with Contreras' body near the junction of the Pomona (60) and San Gabriel (605) freeways by county workers alarmed by a putrid smell.
The suspect moved out of the family's apartment on April 28, and turned in his keys.
The new information about the suspected time of death means the scope of the investigation has broadened. Today, officers with the Orange Police Department have been combing the Brea landfill for the boys' bodies.
Orange Police Sgt. Dan Adams says the dogs have been loaned to the investigation by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, and are being used in what he says is a "grid search" of the location where the trash from the apartment complex where the family resided is sent. The area they need to search is estimated to be the size of a football field, says Adams.
Adams adds: "Because we are talking about a much larger time frame, our search will have to go deeper and wider to account for all garbage that was dumped from the building during that period.''
While dogs and investigators have been searching the family's Orange apartment, Adams explains the suspect did a thorough cleaning of the home, eliminating the scent of the boys. Blood in the unit, however, alerted the building manager that something was not right, and he contacted the authorities, who launched an investigation.
The suspect was apprehended following a high-speed chase that concluded just over the San Diego County border line. He was taken into custody by the California Highway Patrol, and arrested the next morning for the killings of Contreras and their sons.
Limas has not provided police with information about the location of the boys' remains.
A motive for the killings also has not been established. "He hasn't explained what happened," offers Adams.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons has not yet decided if Limas will face the death penalty, though the multiple murder charges filed against him make the suspect eligible. Limas was slated for arraignment Monday, but that has been postponed until May 23. He was denied bail.